Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Sweeney Todd"

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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Larry Stark


"Sweeney Todd"

by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Bill Doscher
Music Direction by Don Boroson

Producers Bogusia Wojciechowska & Sandi McDonald
Set Design by Steve Orr
Lighting Design by Heidi Hinkel
Costumer Diana L. Kane
Sound by Bill Shamlian
Props Manager Vicky Crosby
Stage Manager Monica Bruno

Mrs. Lovett............Mary O'Donnell
Sweeney Todd.............Eric Sosman
Anthony..............................Bill Toll
The Beadle...............Jeff Biouthiette
Beggar Woman.............Rachel Riehl
The Judge...................Craig Howard
Joanna..................................Liz Asti
Pirelli......................Daniel J. Rabone
Tobias.......................Tyler Reynolds
ENSEMBLE
Sopranos
Amy DeMarco, Audrey Eash, Tracy Nygard
Mezzo-Sopranos
Linda Goetz, Judy Maggs, Laureen Stakutis
Tenors
Zack Handlen, Robert Shutter, Michael Trabucco
Baritones
David Daly, Neil Davin, Glenn Kane
THE ORCHESTRA
Conductor, Keyboard........Don Boroson
Clarinet........................Michael Freeman
Bassoon..............................Rob Huether
Violin.................................Peter Hughes
Cello...........................Catherine Stephan
Bass.........................Jeremy Van Buskirk
Percussion..........................Len Simboski

Stephen Sondheim has called his Demon Barber of Fleet Street completely evil; and it was certainly true that when Eric Sosman's powerful "Sweeney Todd" lurched menacingly out to the very edge of the Footlight Club stage and, brandishing his straight razor, sardonically offered any man in the audience the smoothest, and the last shave he'd ever get, there were no titters and no takers, as people flinched back lest he make good his promise. But a stunning cast of nine, buoyed by a chorus of another dozen and beautifully orchestrated by Music Director Don Boroson, found genuine gems of lighter moments in the bloody tale. The result was a triumph for all concerned.

Director Bill Doscher refers to himself as a "mere traffic manager" but even in the stage-filling opening of the second act, with everyone on-stage and singing, he threaded the crowd with little gems of business and by-play. Her saw to it that every eager anonymous diner on Mrs. Lovett's anthropophagous meat pies (gloriously costumed by Diana L Kane) had an individual personality and a position in the social swirl. The applause for that scene alone was as loud and long as for many finales.

The company put back into the show whole numbers and choruses that are cut elsewhere, telling the story more completely and with sly wit at even the most murderous moments. When Mary O'Donnell's successful pie-maker sat with her bored "meat supplier" dreaming of retirement to the seaside, ("By The Sea") her obvious romance and his obvious indifference played beautifully against each other. Sweeney's near-miss attempt to murder the evil Judge (Craig Howard) fairly tingled with bubbling ironies. Even people who knew the show cold had it re-created before their eyes and ears --- from the cutting-contest with a rival barber (Daniel Rabone) to the love-duets of Sweeney's long-lost daughter (Liz Asti) and a young seaman (Bill Toll), to the final slash of the crazed razor. The audience was with the show from the very first note, catching every loving detail and thrilling to each twist in Hugh Wheeler's complicated plot. Not every community theatre can do justice to Sondheim, but The Footlight Club could, and they did.

Love,
===Anon.


"Sweeney Todd" (5 - 20 April)
THE FOOTLIGHT CLUB
7A Eliot Street, JAMAICA PLAIN, MA
1(617)524-3200


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